Common And Alternative Treatments For Genital Herpes

Antiviral drug treatments for genital herpes don’t cure the disease, but they can make living with it easier. These drugs help to quell symptoms and to reduce the severity and duration of outbreaks when they do flare up. They can also help you protect sexual partners from contracting the disease.
The three major antiviral drugs used to treat genital herpes are Acyclovir (Zovirax), Famciclovir (Famvir) and Valacyclovir (Valtrex). When you’re first diagnosed, your doctor may give you an initial seven to ten day treatment to help relieve symptoms and prevent them from worsening. After the first treatment, you and your doctor can decide how to further treat the condition.

Intermittent Treatments for Genital Herpes

Most people opt for intermittent treatments–meaning, they take the antiviral drugs only when symptoms begin to flare up. Your doctor will prescribe you oral antiviral pills to keep on hand for when you need them. This is called intermittent therapy.
You’ll take the pills for about two to five days, until you begin to see their effect. The ulcers will heal on their own, but the pills can make them less painful and help them disappear faster.

Treating Genital Herpes Daily

Some people experience frequent, painful outbreaks. If you experience more than six outbreaks per year, or if the outbreaks you experience are significant enough to interfere with your life, your doctor may recommend daily antiviral treatments. This is called suppressive therapy. Your doctor will prescribe you an oral antiviral suppressant that can help you to reduce outbreaks as much as 70 to 80 percent. Some people who take suppressants experience no outbreaks at all.
Some doctors believe that daily suppressants can help reduce the risk of transferring the virus to a partner. This is because antiviral drugs reduce the viral shedding of the disease, which is how it replicates itself and transfers to others. Studies continued to be performed on the drug Valacyclovir (Valtrex), which is thought to be more effective than others for this purpose.

Alternative Herpes Treatments

Propolis, a waxy substance made by honeybees, can help people suffering from genital herpes. Applying a propolis ointment to the affected areas four times a day will relieve symptoms and help sores heal faster.
L-Lysine, an over-the-counter supplement that helps the skin, is also thought to help reduce the severity of outbreaks, and may help suppress them as well.
Prunella vulgaris, an herb otherwise known as “selfheal,” and cozites caperata, called the “gypsy mushroom,” contain chemicals that are believed to fight both oral and genital variations of herpes.
None of these alternative treatments have been approved by the national Food and Drug Administration, and people who have taken them report various levels of success. Whether you choose to pursue prescription or alternative therapies can make living with genital herpes easier and less painful.